In the report, we argue that both Ukraine and Taiwan are seen by their larger authoritarian neighbours as “part of their homelands”. The brief’s author, Prof Taras Kuzio, states that “the threat posed by Beijing to Taiwan is comparable to that presented to Ukraine by Moscow, with clear threats to use force in the event of Taiwan moving away from a one China policy.”
Had the West failed to act in Ukraine’s support, “Beijing would have been emboldened with regards to Taiwan”, Kuzio argues. In the paper, he calls on the West to continue to step up its support for Ukraine not merely to safeguard its sovereignty but also to dissuade China from similar adventurism.
The report makes six recommendations :
- Britain and America should reinforce their commitment to Ukrainian and Taiwanese sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, continuing to provide defensive weapons in bulk in Ukraine, and offering assistance to the Taiwanese state.
- NATO should reinforce its presence in the three Baltic states, deterring future aggression, and to unity in provision to Ukraine. While some 27 countries have committed to providing military equipment, the US, Ukraine, Poland, and the 10 Baltics are carrying more than their share of the load. It is important that other countries step up to the plate.
- The US should re-affirm security pledges already enshrined in an earlier treaty with Taiwan, and develop a policy of military and economic support for its security.
- The EU should take a further step by ending the import of all Russian oil and gas. This step has likely been avoided to date because some countries are heavily reliant on Russian energy and require a transition phase. The EU should draw up a transition to a Russian energy free Europe over as short a time frame as possible.
- The UK and US should take the lead in expanding existing supplies of military equipment, training, joint military exercises, cooperation in cyber warfare and training in other aspects of hybrid warfare in vulnerable allied nations as a deterrence against Russian and Chinese military aggression.
- Supporting young democracies such as Ukraine and Taiwan should become a central component of a post-Brexit national identity in a Global Britain foreign policy. As Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said, “We need to fight for the rule of law, freedom and democracy, and we must take that fight to the where that ideological battle is. Security is no longer solely about military hardware. The battle is now taking place in cyber space, the economy, and in the appalling use of people as collateral.”
Commenting, Dr Alan Mendoza, executive director of the Henry Jackson Society, said:
“Taiwan and Ukraine might be thousands of miles apart but in character and geopolitical stakes they are markedly similar. China’s lukewarm support for Ukraine’s invasion should not fall us – they are watching events closely.
Should the West blink in our response or fail to step in to secure other allies, it may well encourage a similarly violent invasion of Taiwan. Stepping up our support for Ukraine will not only end President Putin’s aggression, it could also stop wars of the future.“